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Jobless Claims in U.S. Increase to Highest Level in Five Weeks

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Jobless Claims

Filings for U.S. unemployment benefits increased to a five-week high, a sign that progress in the strongest part of the economy may be moderating.

Jobless claims rose by 17,000 to 274,000 in the week ended April 30, a Labor Department report showed Thursday. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey was 260,000. The jump was the largest in more than a year.

Further increases in new applications would probably be needed to mark a shift in sentiment among hiring managers about the economy’s prospects after the weakest quarter for growth in two years. Focus turns to payrolls data due Friday from the Labor Department, and forecasts call for another steady employment gain in April.

“I don’t really see any reason for initial claims to change the tone very much in the near term, but if there was a risk, we may some signs of edging higher,” David Sloan, senior economist at 4cast Inc. in New York, said before the report. “The employment growth does look a little too strong to be sustained indefinitely.”

Forecasts in the Bloomberg survey ranged from 250,000 to 275,000. Filings dropped to 248,000 in mid-April, the lowest since 1973.

While there was nothing unusual in the data, claims last week were estimated for Washington, D.C., according to the Labor Department.

Four-Week Average

The four-week average of jobless claims, a less-volatile measure than the weekly figure, rose to 258,000 from 256,000 in the prior week. Filings have been below 300,000 for 61 weeks — the longest stretch since 1973 and a level economists say is consistent with a healthy labor market.

The number of people continuing to receive jobless benefits fell by 8,000 to 2.12 million in the week ended April 23, the lowest level since November 2000. The unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits dropped to 1.5 percent from 1.6 percent. These data are reported with a one-week lag.

The Labor Department’s monthly employment report is projected to show employment remained sturdy in April. Economists project about 200,000 jobs were added last month after a 215,000 increase in March.

Federal Reserve officials meeting last week noted that “a range of recent indicators, including strong job gains, points to additional strengthening of the labor market,” even as they passed on raising the benchmark interest rate from its range of

0.25 percent to 0.5 percent. The central bankers next meet June 14-15.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Economy

Prepaid Meter is Free, Buhari Warns DisCos, Agents

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prepaid meter

President Muhammadu Buhari once again warned Power Distributing Companies (DisCos) and their agents selling prepaid meters to electricity customers against the Federal Government directive that meter is free.

Ahmed Rufai Zakar, the Special Adviser to the President on Infrastructure, who represented Buhari at the FGN/NLC-TUC ad-hoc committee on electricity tariff stakeholders held in Ibadan, Oyo State on Wednesday, said President Buhari understood people’s concerns on issues surrounding electricity and was determined to curb and deal with unscrupulous individuals in the power sector.

He said, “We have made it very clear through the regulators direct order as well as intervention from the Ministry of Power that the meters are to be provided to Nigerians at no cost.

“Even for meters that were paid for, there is the directive from the regulator to the discos that they would need to find a way to reimburse those citizens over time.

“In cases where we find any disco or disco representative selling the meters or exploiting Nigerians to be able to get meters by paying, we would take the full measures of the law.

“The President has mandated that these meters must be free. We have also said that they must come from local manufacturers.

“This would create jobs and revive our industry.”

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Economy

Nigeria’s Real Estate Sector Shrinks by 8.06% in the Third Quarter -NBS

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Economic uncertainty plunged Nigeria’s real estate sector by 8.06 percent in the third quarter of the year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Nigeria’s statistics office said “In nominal terms, real estate services recorded a growth rate of –8.06 per cent in the third quarter of 2020, indicating a decline of –11.78 per cent points compared to the growth rate at the same period in 2019, and by 9.12 per cent points when compared to the preceding quarter.

“Quarter-on-quarter, the sector growth rate was 18.92 per cent.

“Real GDP growth recorded in the sector in Q3 2020 stood at -13.40 per cent, lower than the growth recorded in third quarter of 2019 by –11.09 per cent points, but higher relative to Q2 2020 by 8.59 per cent points.

“Quarter-on-quarter, the sector grew by 17.15 per cent in the third quarter of 2020.

“It contributed 5.58 per cent to real GDP in Q3, 2020, lower than the 6.21 per cent it recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2019.”

Nigeria’s economy contracted by 2.48 percent in the first nine months following a 6.10 percent and 3.62 percent contraction in the second and third quarters respectively.

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Economy

Nigeria Requires N400 Billion Annually to Maintain Federal Roads -Senator Bassey

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lekki

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on road maintenance, Senator Gersome Bassey, on Friday said Nigeria requires about N400 billion annually to maintain federal roads across the country.

The Senator, therefore, described the N38 billion budgeted for road repairs in the 2021 proposed Budget as grossly inadequate. According to him, nothing meaningful could be achieved by the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) with such an amount.

He said, “For the 35 kilometres federal roads in the country to be motorable at all times, the sum of N400bn is required on yearly basis for maintenance.”

Bassey “What the committee submitted to the Appropriation Committee in the 2021 fiscal year is the N38bn proposed for it by the executive which cannot cover up to one quarter of the entire length of deplorable roads in the country.

“Unfortunately, despite having the power of appropriation, we cannot as a committee jerk up the sum since we are not in a position to carry out the estimation of work to be done on each of the specific portion of the road.

“Doing that without proposals to that effect from the executive, may lead to project insertion or padding as often alleged in the media.”

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